Stephen McManus says holding on to Stuart McCall has been ‘Well’s biggest achievement of the summer so far.
Shaun Hutchinson (Fulham), Henri Anier (Erzgebirge Aue) and James McFadden have left in what has been a relatively quiet summer in terms of departures.
Dan Twardzik and Josh Law have arrived whilst others are on the way, but it is retaining the services of the boss that McManus has lauded the most.
Under the former Everton and Sheffield United midfielder’s watch, the Steelmen have finished ‘Best of the Rest’ in the last three consecutive seasons.
Speaking to the gathered press at Motherwell’s Algarve pre-season training base, the 26-times capped defender said: “The most important thing is keeping the manager here. He is the one who makes the place tick.
“Since I’ve been here the gaffer’s been tremendous. The hardest thing to do in football management is rebuild a team. We have lost some of our best players in the past two seasons, but the gaffer has brought in others of similar quality and maintained that level of success.
“We’ve lost Hutchy, Faddy and Henri. One stopped goals, one was creative player and one scored goals. If you are going to be a success you need players who can win you games and score goals, and that’s an area we will look to strengthen.”
McManus, 31, arrived in North Lanarkshire last summer of a three-year spell south of the border with both Middlesbrough and Bristol City.
He was an almost ever-present last season; missing just one game (a 1-0 win at Pittodrie on Boxing Day) making him the clubs’ highest appearance holder in a campaign ‘Well finished SPFL Premiership runners-up.
[pullquote]Since I’ve been here the gaffer’s been tremendous. The hardest thing to do in football management is rebuild a team. We have lost some of our best players in the past two seasons, but the gaffer has brought in others of similar quality and maintained that level of success.[/pullquote]
And the big defender, known affectionately as ‘Mick’ to his teammates, admits the fear of losing his place in the team has constantly driven him on, particularly through the tough pre-season schedules.
“This is my sixteenth year of pre-season training, I would love to say my body is used to it but it’s not!
“But I’ve always trained hard because I’ve been driven by fear someone would nick my place in the team. When I was younger, I spoke to experienced players and asked them what I had to so when I got older and they always said ‘Train, train and train again.
“I thought you could maybe take a day off here or there but they told me to train hard every day. Now I hate missing sessions as I fell as if I am losing something.”
Although ‘Well have achieved an incredible amount in recent seasons, one major task still remains illusive.
The Fir Parkers haven’t tasted success in Cup competitions for almost twenty-five years at that is a firm target for the new campaign according to the former Celtic skipper.
“I would love to win a trophy with Motherwell and there is no reason why we couldn’t,” he added.
“We have been runners-up in the league so we have every right to think we can win some silverware, just like Aberdeen, Hearts, St Johnstone, St Mirren and Kilmarnock have done in recent seasons.”
Keep up to date with additional information on our pre-season camp via Twitter and some behind-the-scenes pictures on Instagram. Action shots from training can also be found on our official Facebook page.